Card Shop Review: Turn Two Collectibles

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

The second shop that I visited was Turn Two Collectibles in Raleigh. Turn Two has been around for a while - in fact, I think I may have gone there when I was a kid. Regardless, it doesn't look like things have changed for a long time. I mentioned in my earlier post that when I went to Cardiacs, even though it wasn't the biggest store, it felt roomy. Well, Turn Two was the opposite - it was bigger, but there was so much stuff, it felt claustrophobic in a way.

For all it's inventory, there wasn't a lot as far as new stuff goes. I was able to get some 2009 Series 2 cards off my list, which was good, since I got a bunch of Series 1 the day before. But the customer service was, sadly, lacking. I was the only person in the store, but the guy behind the counter didn't seem interested in striking up a conversation. I guess the CSI repeat was more important than a new customer. Basically, there was one box of cards from 2009 (none from this year, I was told) and I was handed the box, pointed in the direction of a card, and went through it. No conversations, no small talk, nothing, really. So I made the decision to get what I need and get out.

At Cardiacs, I bought some stuff I didn't really need because I wanted to give them some extra business. At Turn Two, it was strictly business. Oh well, their loss.

Here's some highlights of what I did purchase:

2009 Topps 206 George Sisler (bronze parallel)
The card I got is exactly like that one, except it has a bronze border. If you check my want lists, you'd see that Sisler is one of four old-time players whose cards I will always endeavor to pick up if given the chance. That's because of his connection to Ichiro, first due to the single-season hit record, then due to the fact that they're both really good hitters. This means I find more than a few cards with both players on them, which is a win/win for me.

2005 Heritage Flashbacks Luis Aparicio
Another player on my "get whatever card you see" list (the Robinson boys are the other two, by the way). I'm a bit lucky I got this card, honestly, because as a 2005 card, it was obviously mis-filed with the 2009s. No matter, I'm happy to spend the dime or whatever it was and add it to my Little Looie collection.

(ed note: Holy crap, I just looked at the COMC entry and the asking price is a buck! Instant profit - if, you know, I was going to sell it. Which I'm not.)

2009 SP Authentic Ken Griffey Jr.
After coming across this SP Authentic cards in the box, I must say, I am a fan. Too bad it's another product line that was killed following the move to a single license for baseball cards. I liked the feel of this particular set, and have since tracked down the Lincecum and Hernandez cards as well (okay, I confess, I went back to Cardiacs). I'll also have to look for '08 Authentics and older. But I'm too lazy to look it up - are there parallels I have to find, too?

2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Felix Hernandez base
This is funny, because I actually got the red parallel of this card before I found the base. There was a pile of Spectrums in the '09 box, and I was hoping King Felix would be in there. He was. I was so happy, I went and bought a playmate for him the next day.

Grade for Turn Two
Store - Presentation: C-; Inventory: B
Customer Service: C-
Overall: C
If I was in the point in my collection  that I was looking for cards older than the past few years, I'd probably find them here. But because their newer inventory wasn't as robust as I would like, not as good a trip as the one to Cardiacs.

Photo credits:
George Sisler courtesy of Amazon
Luis Aparicio courtesy of Check Out My Cards
Ken Griffey Jr and Felix Hernandez courtesy of eBay

Card Shop Review: Cardiacs

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

The first of the three card shops that I visited on my trip was Cardiacs in Cary. Cardiacs is a fairly new shop, in fact, its next door to the place garage I used to take my car to be serviced. The two principal owners are Johnny (who works at the garage) and Jay (a law enforcement officer).

Because Johnny and Jay have full-time jobs, Cardiacs is only open in the evenings and on Saturdays. I wonder if that's not the future of card shops - part-time concerns owned by people who don't rely on the shop to make a living and do it as a labor of love. In the three years that Cardiacs has been open (they arrived on the scene the month after I left for Australia), they have developed an impressive array of baseball, football, basketball and hockey cards.

Jay was extremely generous with his time, and I enjoyed speaking to him. He gave me a bit of insight as to why some online sites won't ship internationally, although I still don't understand why they don't. I found that of the three shops, Cardiacs had the best range of newer cards, and perhaps that is a function of their relative newness. At any rate, since I'm focusing on collecting from 2008-2010 and then working my way backwards, Cardiacs met my needs.

Although it wasn't the largest shop I visited, Cardiacs was the most comfortable. It didn't feel cramped, and everything was laid out well. I found a bunch of cards to cross off my 2009 Topps want list, as well as a couple of insert cards. In addition, I got a couple of Allen & Ginter packs, and I noticed that they had reduced the prices of their A&G boxes down below the $100 mark (it was $99, but still...) Johnny mentioned that they had hosted an A&G case break a couple of nights before - case break parties are a regular feature at Cardiacs.

Some highlights of my visit:

2010 Allen & Ginter Allosaurus mini
I was really hoping to pull a dinosaur, even though the odds (1:12) weren't good for me given the fact that I only bought two packs. So you can imagine my delight when I saw the allosaurus staring back at me in pack #2. Much better than a real allosaurus, which you do not want to mess with.

I wanted a Monster of the Mesozoic because my wife's class studied dinosaurs this term in school. The fact that she actually showed some interest in this set I took as a positive. It's a big reason why I've done an about face on Allen & Ginter and am now a fan.

2009 Topps 206 Felix Hernandez (regular and mini)
My first mini (since I pulled it out of the box before I bought the A&G packs) and the regular card to go with it. At this time, I was still a 206 fan. I'm sure I'll be getting all the 206 cards of players and teams I care about, though. The back of the mini is a Piedmont back, as well.

2009 SP Legendary Cuts Tim Lincecum and Felix Hernandez
Not sure what I think about this stamp design, but since my goal is to collect, collect, collect cards from these two players, I picked them up. I've found that part of the deal is just finding out what's out there. If I see a new card with one of the "Big Four" then I now know to investigate and see if the other three (or two, in this case) also have cards in that set I need to collect as well. Besides, there's a possibility that this could be a Griffey White Sox card. Can you tell I haven't actually investigated this set yet? I'll do that after I post.

2009 Topps Chrome Tim Lincecum and Felix Hernandez
I did a good job picking up King Felix and The Freak, as you can see. Both of these cards are nice and shiny, and now I need to add Ken Griffey and Ichiro to the collection. Donations gladly accepted. :)

Grade for Cardiacs
Store - Presentation: A; Inventory: B
Customer Service: A
Overall: A-

I highly recommend a trip to Cardiacs if you ever find yourself in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill or Cary. Remember, though, that it is a part-time concern, and their opening hours are M/Tues/Thur/Fri 5-8, Saturday 12-8ish (they usually close early). It's not on their website, but you have been informed. Regardless, stop by and give Jay, Johnny and their staff a look.

Image credits:
Allosaurus, Hernandez 206 and Chrome, Lincecum Legendary Cuts and Chrome courtesy of eBay
Hernandez Legendary Cuts courtesy of
Hernandez 206 mini back courtesy of Check Out My Cards

Another Griffey White Sox card

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

At this point, I have more Griffey "White Sox" cards with him in a Reds uniform than a White Sox one. But since the cards have a Sox logo, they count as far as I'm concerned. Here's the latest one, which just arrived today from eBay:

A White Sox/Cubs combo, with two players who aren't wearing the right uniform. I don't mind having Edmonds share the card with Griffey, I've always had a lot of time for Edmonds as a player. It's got a real NL Central flavor, which makes it all the more hilarious that I bought it for the White Sox connection!

Never mind

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

I bought another 2010 cereal box (this time at K-Mart, but with the Wal-Mart cards) and got this:

The funny thing was, this was a cereal box I picked up on my first trip to the K-Mart but didn't buy. Instead, I hid it in the back of the shelf behind the blasters. I wanted to see what those jumbo packs had and didn't want to buy too much. Thankfully, the cereal box was right where I left it, a week later. K-Mart FTW!

Photo courtesy of eBay, once again

Check out MY card

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , , ,

My first purchase from Check Out My Cards involved some rainbow chasing. Now I have three Felix Hernandez cards from the Spectrum - base (purple), red and gold, thanks to this jersey card numbered 21/99. Turquoise (#/25) could still be a bit of trouble, but we'll see. I am persistent.

By the way, I'm collecting the rainbow for Felix, Ichiro, Griffey and Lincecum in this set. I have the base cards for all of them but still need plenty of parallels.

I finally feel like I belong...

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

Ed. note: My parents don't have a flat-bed scanner, as it turns out. So instead of putting the blog on hiatus for another two weeks, I'll be borrowing images (with credit) from around the web. Every picture I post will be a card I've obtained, just not the card.

Why's that? Because I just went to K-Mart and bought some baseball cards.

It took me a while to even find the damn things. For some reason, I had the idea that they might be in the toy section. Well, that was wrong. Then I thought maybe the electronics, since it's always monitored and it'd be really easy to slip a pack in your pocket when nobody's looking. Precious commodity and all that. But no joy there, either.

I was at my wit's end when I hit on the idea of checking the sporting goods section, and there they were at the end of the aisle. Not a great selection, but they did have 2010 Topps Series 2 (which was what I was thinking of getting). Blasters, cereal boxes and jumbo rack packs.

I remembered somebody's post (although I don't remember who) talking about how easy it was to see through the wrapping of the jumbos. Now, I'm not a pack searcher, but I did have a squiz at the cards on the front and back. All base cards (a lot of Mets, weirdly), save two packs, where you couldn't see what was the bottom card on the bottom pack, but there was one of those anti-shoplifting thingies like you see on CDs and DVDs.

Curiousity got the better of me, I must admit, and I bought both of the jumbos that had that anti-theft device. What does it all mean? I have no idea, but I'm about to find out.

Jumbo Pack 1
Top half

463 - Carlos Marmol

599 - Jay Bruce

421 - Doug Fister
364 - Trevor Hoffman
659 - Nick Blackburn
571 - Brandon Lyon
654 - Collin Balester

632 - Daric Barton
424 - David Herndon (RC) - who?
355 - James Russell (RC)
Another Cincinnati native makes the bigs

455 - Cardinals Team History
Nice picture, even if they are the mortal enemy right now

510 - Checklist (Upton & Reynolds)
640 - Matt Diaz
TMC17 - Roger Maris MCG redemption card
Kung Fu Panda ToppsTown
373 - Clint Barmes
639 - Los Angeles Dodgers
542 - Heath Bell

401 - Chad Billingsley
The Buzzsaw!

Bottom Half
This is the pack with the security bit in it - we'll find out soon enough if that means anything

356 - Angels Franchise History
435 - Nelson Cruz

501 - Jake Peavy
I pulled this card the day before Peavy detached his back muscle, ruling him out for 12 months. Ouch, and sigh.

591 - Fernando Rodney
418 - Aaron Laffey
476 - Yadier Molina
520 - Randy Wells
429 - Seth Smith

CMT99 - 1992 Cal Ripken (non-original back)
HWS8 - Enos Slaughter's Mad Dash
PP88 - Phil Rizzuto Peak Performance

TR91 - Buster Posey
578 - Aaron Rowand
630 - Ben Francisco
568 - Jarrod Saltalamacchia
488 - Delwyn Young

417 - Dallas Braden

No relic but a few inserts, including my first Turkey Red and a Yo Mamma redemption, so not a bad pack. A good start to my Series 2 collection. I find it interesting that the top had 19 cards and the bottom had 17, but maybe that's par for the course, I don't know.

Jumbo Pack 2
Top half

556 - Chicago White Sox
Victory! But how come Ozzie's picture isn't on the back? Did he pull a Barry Bonds and opt out of the licencing agreement? (Turns out none of the team cards in Series 2 have the manager's pictures on the back - ed.)

366 - Hideki Kuroda
393 - Jason Frasor
522 - Jordan Schafer - Not the Braves outfielder I was looking for

353 - Jason Heyward
That was the Braves outfielder I was looking for!

457 - Kanekoa Texeira

563 - Bronson Arroyo

339 - Jose Reyes - Safe!
381 - Miguel Montero
555 - B.J. Upton

1977 Tom Seaver CYMTO Original Back
TMC12 - Gary Carter MCG Redemption Card
B.J. Upton ToppsTown
420 - Shin-Soo Choo
448 - Joakim Soria
529 - Carlos Lee
614 - Kelly Johnson
660 - Brandon McCarthy
585 - Dioner Navarro

Bottom Half
403 - Jimmy Rollins
569 - Jacoby Ellsbury
495 - Carlos Pena
437 - Luke Hochevar
363 - Joba Chamberlain

638 - Paul Konerko
497 - Edgar Renteria

331 - Ryan Braun
Slide Ryan, Slide!

602 - Royals Franchise History

CMY83 - Dennis Eckersley CYTMO non-original back
HWS7 - Mel Ott History of the World Series
PP69 - Ryan Zimmerman

TR65 - Prince Fielder Turkey Red
386 - Dan Haren
608 - Pittsburgh Pirates
594 - Andy LaRoche
346 - Taylor Teagarden

So there we go. My first pack of baseball cards purchased in America in nearly twenty years. Loved getting Jay Bruce, and the Ripken Yo Mamma card. Things will get better, as I've bought a bunch of cards since then.

I've visited two card stores so far and plan on going to a third soon. Each store will get its own "review" in a post soon, as well as the results of my Allen & Ginter vs. Topps 206 comparison. The results may surprise you!

Image Credits:
Jay Bruce, Chad Billingsley, Dallas Braden, Jason Heyward, Bronson Arroyo and Jose Reyes courtesy of
Doug Fister, Daric Barton, Cardinals Franchise History, Jake Peavy, Buster Posey, Chicago White Sox, Paul Konerko and Ryan Braun courtesy of eBay
Cal Ripken and Prince Fielder courtesy of
Dennis Eckersley courtesy of
Tom Seaver courtesy of

Wanted: Ichiro

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

I bought a 2010 Series 2 cereal box at Wal-Mart yesterday and got this:

However, I don't really want it, and would like to trade it for this:

Mets fans, I'm looking at you, but really, anyone who can help, let me know either by leaving a comment here or hitting me up on e-mail. Thanks in advance!

Photos courtesy of Check Out My Cards and e-Bay because the camera on the iPhone sucks ass and I don't have access to a scanner.

The Great Junk Wax Giveaway

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

As one of the 50 authors on A Pack to Be Named Later, I should let you know about a contest that's going on over there. But first, you should click on the link and look at the banner. Go ahead, I'll wait...

Have you done it yet?


So what did you think? That's a lot of junk wax, right? Well guess what - it can all be yours. All you need to do is enter The Great Junk Wax Giveaway. There's 95 packs on that table, but the question is - how many cards and stickers are in those packs? The person who guesses the closest wins all the packs.

Full details are available at the giveaway link in the previous paragraph, but you have until 7:00 pm Central time (8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific) on Tuesday the 13th to enter. In other words, if you're watching the All-Star game, and you haven't entered yet, you're too late.

But what are you waiting for? Enter today!

A trip to the card shop

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , , , ,

Before I flew out to the States, we went up to Perth for the weekend to rest up before the flight and see the dog, who went up the weekend before so he wasn't underfoot when we were moving house. After what could rightly be referred to as "the week from hell," I earned a trip to Al's Card Shop, I thought.

I didn't get much, just a handful of singles for various PCs and team collections. But I spent an hour talking to Len the owner, who is, despite being a native Australian, a pretty big baseball fan. I always love finding Australian baseball fans - I think they just love having someone to talk ball with.

Anyway, here's what I got. Six Griffeys for the PC, including a Skybox with more delightfully ludricrous gangsta text. The late '90s Skybox cards are definitely a guilty pleasure. While the ridiculous set name (Hip-No-Tized) originally caught my eye, just one look at the back and I knew I had to take it home with me:

Here are three parallels from the 2000 Topps subset called "Magic Moments." All three cards are numbered 475, but as you can see, they are all different moments in Griffey's career:

And then two cards of Griffey in Reds gear (there weren't any White Sox cards, or I would have for sure snapped them up). One is an Upper Deck "E-Card" from 2001 (is that before or after e-Topps debuted?) which I picked up because it's all fractal and I wasn't sure when I'd see it again. The other is an '06 UD "Amazing Greats" subset serial numbered to 699. I know many people are through with serial numbers, but I still kinda like them.

It wasn't all Griffeys. I also got a couple of Ichiros, including his 2009 Spectrum base. I like the design of the Spectrum that year and have decided to go rainbow chasing. I've got Ichiro and Griffey base (which is also a Griffey White Sox card, so I was going to collect them anyway) and King Felix's red parallel. No Lincecum cards yet, but I hope to change that soon. Did I mention that as you are reading this post, I'll be travelling around Raleigh going to card shops? Because I am.

The other Ichiro card is a 2007 SP Authentic card that commemorates his 45 steals that year. Basically, if Ichiro is on a card, I want it and I'll probably buy it or trade for it.

Finally, we have some Robinsons of both the Frank and Brooks variety. I'm a bit annoyed because I forgot to scan one of the Frank Robinson cards, and now it's back in Australia and I can't get ahold of it. First up are Frank, Brooksie and Joe Morgan all appearing in a Topps Stars "Spotlight" set. I bought all the Orioles and Reds that were available. Rest assured, had Bench or Palmer been in the binder, I would have grabbed them, too:

Two more Brookies - a black-and-white Upper Deck "Endless Summer" and the card from the Fleer "Million Dollar Moments" set that recognises when he earned the nickname "The Human Vacuum Cleaner." Since that nickname is one thing I absolutely love about Brooksie, I had to get this card.

By the way, the card I didn't scan was Frank Robinson's from the same set that commemorates his becoming the first African-American manager in the bigs.

Finally, speaking of cards that deal with what I love about this game, a card from Randy Johnson's '93 All-Star Game appearance, when the world first met his slider, Mr. Snappy:

Well, this is it

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

My final four packs from the 2009 Topps series 1 box coincides with my first post on American soil:

Pack 33

103 - Kyle Kendrick
113 - Chris Young
209 - Alfredo Amezaga

44 - Geoff Jenkins gold parallel (878/2009)
191 - Postseason Highlights (Shane Victorino NLDS)
224 - Max Scherzer
156 - Carlos Pena

237 - Aaron Cunningham (RC)
236 - Kelly Johnson

Pack 34

316 - Brian Stokes
68 - Kyle Lohse

124 - Reed Johnson (Full extension!)
186 - Ryan Madson

RH23 - Mariano Rivera Ring of Honor
315 - Hiroki Kuroda
14 - Jon Rauch
245 - Pat Burrell (Oh, how the mighty have fallen)
274 - Alex Hinshaw

Pack 35

228 - Scott Rolen
47 - Jose Valverde
89 - Postseason Highlights (Lester & Bay ALDS)
307 - AL Strikeout Leaders

TR32 - Shane Victorino (final Turkey Red card of the box, and I don't have it. Only two dupes and they were both upgrades in terms of condition. Woot!)
121 - Greg Golson (RC) (This one's for you, Thorzul! Well, I'm not going to send it to you, because I need it, but I thought of you and that Piece of History group break)

32 - Daric Barton
219 - Shin-Soo Choo
181 - Jerry Manuel

Pack 36 (The Last One!)

31 - Ian Stewart
126 - Orlando Hudson
157 - Checklist - Webb & Haren
176 - AL RBI Leaders

RH17 - Gary Sheffield Ring of Honor
86 - Kila Ka'aihue
200 - Chase Utley
148 - Ty Wiggington
9 - Dallas McPherson

Not much in terms of big name base cards (or even inserts) but at least every base was a card I didn't have, so I've got nearly 90% of the set complete. I hope to knock off a good chunk of that this week when I head to some card shops and flea markets. I actually have two more cards from the set, but that's a topic for another post.